July 23, 2009

HMM: Crowley’s Union Predicts Obama Will Regret Remarks. Still waiting for that post-racial society we were promised during the campaign. . . .

Plus this: “And now we know the name of the woman who called the police. I suppose her life will be ruined now, as she’ll be portrayed as a racist. Lesson learned: If you think you’re witnessing a crime, mind your own business. Somewhere, the new Kitty Genovese walks into the alleyway.”

UPDATE: L.A. Times: Was Barack Obama stupid to call Cambridge police stupid?

Plus, Alan Bock: Did the Cambridge Police Act Stupidly? My take: Bad arrest, but not motivated by racism. The issue was likely “mouthing off” — not a crime, but a frequent cause of disorderly-conduct arrests without regard to race. It was just that Gates had the resources to make it a big national story.

Perhaps, as we view this confrontation between an Harvard Prof who’s a friend of the President and a Cambridge cop, we can also have a national conversation about class?


MORE: Reader Kevin Maguire writes:

Have you seen the police report on The Smoking Gun? In it, three things jumped out at me that I haven’t seen reported in any of the coverage I’ve read on the incident:

First, according to Crowley’s writeup, before providing his ID Gates made a call in which he asked someone to “get the chief”. How many people can make a phone call in the sincere expectation that they’ll be able to immediately reach the chief of police, whether Cambridge PD or Harvard’s campus police?

Second, Crowley felt it appropriate to request the presence of the Harvard CPs to help him handle the situation. Would he have done that if Gates had been a Harvard student? When I was at MIT in the late 80s and early 90s, when the Boston police visited us, they certainly didn’t summon the MIT CPs (although we would, if there was a real problem, because the MIT CPs were very much on our side).

Third, Harvard sent someone from the University maintenance department over to secure Gates’ house and/or fix the broken lock on his front
door. How many people have an employer who’ll send maintenance staff over to fix up or watch over their house?

Not me.

And reader Joe Scuderi writes: “If Obama wants to speak out for a Black man who is getting a raw deal, how about this one?” Apparently that’s left to me and Radley Balko.

MORE STILL: On that “national conversation,” a reader emails: “I think you mean ‘class’ in both senses of the word.”

Plus, taking guidance from Eddie Murphy?

And some thoughts from Victor Davis Hanson. “The Gates incident seems to have had little to do with race but a lot to do with the natural human misunderstandings that happen every day in police scenes — and its final twist has everything to do with insider privilege and aristocratic disdain.”

Also: “Mr. Gates lives in a city with a black mayor, a state with a black governor and a country with a black President.” And Obama gets criticism from the Fraternal Order of Police.

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